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Festival Profile

Grand Newcomer Award Mannheim-Heidelberg

The International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg has a long tradition of introducing film artists of the future and their aesthetic language to the world. The festival offers an inspiring environment for talented new filmmakers and showcases heretofore unknown talents each year who are all driven by their increased awareness, a strong personal vision and a powerful ambition.

From more than 1,000 submissions the festival picks a selection of roundabout 30 to 40 films by new directors - to be presented as real premieres. Throughout the year, the film scouts and the selection committee search the world to find these few extraordinary talents they consider to be the most interesting and aesthetically extraordinary. Any film presented in Mannheim-Heidelberg receives focussed attention of several hundreds of international industry professionals, the media, and roundabout 60,000 festival visitors alike.


Only newcomer directors may participate at the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg, i.e. directors who are unknown to an international audience outside their home country.

In order for a film to be eligible for presentation at the Festival's International Competition Section, it must not have been screened at

  • Cannes (International Competition, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Un Certain Regard, Semaine de la Critique)
  • Venice (International Competition)
  • Locarno (International Competition)
  • Berlin 
  • any other festival in Germany


Films in the International Competition are nominated for the following awards:

  • Grand Newcomer Award Mannheim-Heidelberg (for the best film in competition, awarded by the International Jury)
  • Special Newcomer Award Mannheim-Heidleberg (for an extraordinary performance as director, actor, writer, etc, awarded by the International Jury)
  • Special Achievment Award Mannheim-Heidelberg(for the best unconventionally narrated feature film, awarded by the International Jury)
  • Special Mentions of the International Jury (for a remarkable film with outstanding acting, music, photography etc, awarded by the International Jury)
  • International Film Critic's Award (awarded by the FIPRESCI-Jury)
  • The Ecumenic Film Prize (awarded by the Ecumenical Jury)

Jury of Cinema Owners will recommend films for theatrical distribution. An Audience Award is issued for any film in the two main sections, regardless of genre and length.

Find out more about prizes and laureates during the course of the Festival in the Awards section.


The prize will be awarded to the best “creators” of the nominated series – often in the dual role of author and producer, similar to role that writer-directors often traditionally hold in the world of arthouse cinema. An independent expert jury will decide on the prizewinner.

64 years of Mannheim-Heidelberg...

Mannheim-Heidelberg is one of the oldest filmfestivals in the world - and the second oldest in Germany.

For 64 years it has been a forum for the art of cinema, for films with a personal signature - the author's film.

During the history of the festival, debut features of now famous directors were first introduced to an international public.


Discoveries until 1998 ... 

... since 1998

Francois Truffaut (1959)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1969)

Wim Wenders (1969)

Krzysztof Kieslowski (1975)

Lars von Trier (1984)

Jim Jarmusch (1980)

Atom Egoyan (1984)

Andreas Dresen (1990)

Bryan Singer (1993)

Guillaume Nicloux (1994)

Angela Schanelec (1995)

Ferenc Moldovanyi (1995)

Dani Kouyate (1995)

Kristian Petri (1995)

Sang-Martin Sulik (1996)

Park Chul-Soo (1996)

Chang Sun-Woo (1996)

Anders Ronnow-Klarlund (1996) 

Shinji Aoyama (1996)

Lou Ye (1996)

Sang-Soo Hong (1996)

Rafi Pitts (1997)

Igor Sterk (1997)

Thomas Vinterberg (1997)

Isabelle Stever (1997)

Andrei Nekrasov (1997)

Derek M. Cianfrance (1998) 

Jonas Elmer (1998)

Frederic Fonteyne (1998)

Moussa Toure (1998)

Hiner Saleem (1998)

Nikolas Winding Refn (1998)

Luca Guadignino (1999)

Lasse Spang Olsen (1999)

Christian Philibert (1999)

Peter Payer (1999)

Nabil Ayouch (2000)

Ragnar Bragason (2000)

Jérome Enrico (2001)

Stanislaw Mucha (2001)

Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel (2001)

Ole Christian Madsen (2001)

Tayfun Pirselimoglu (2002)

Matias Bize (2003)

Simon Staho (2004)

Annemarie Jacir (2004)

Jan Schomburg (2004)

Felix van Groeningen (2004)

Rahmin Bahrani (2005)

Geoffrey Enthoven (2006)

Paula Hernandez (2008)